News Story

Commentary: Unions Ducking the Truth With Proposal 2 Ad

Excessive union contracts have bankrupted cities, school districts

It is telling that backers of a plan to change the state constitution to benefit unions at the expense of taxpayers are focusing on what the amendment won't do — rather than what it will do.

In a new television ad, supporters of the so-called "Protect Our Jobs" amendment in essence tell viewers that Proposal 2 is a harmless plan even though it will fundamentally change the state's constitution.

Proposal 2 supporters don't want voters to know that if it passes, more than 170 laws in Michigan could be altered or eliminated, including many that have collectively saved taxpayers billions of dollars.

They don't want people to know that Proposal 2 would benefit only union workers in Michigan — and their well-paid bosses — with a particular boost to government union workers whose paychecks come out of ours.

They don't want people to know that Proposal 2 would take away worker freedoms by making it impossible to become a right-to-work state, which allows workers to choose whether they want to belong to a union.

They don't want people to know that union bosses would effectively have veto power over elected officials when it comes to anything that has to do with collective bargaining.

And they don’t want you to know that if the proposal fails, nothing changes.

Instead, they've got the appropriately sympathetic looking — and sounding — teacher, nurse and police officer telling us:

Proposal 2 "doesn't add any rights workers don't already have," ignoring that it takes rights away from people who don’t want to join a union or pay forced fees to organized labor.

Proposal 2 "doesn't force people to join unions," which is true because Michigan already is a forced unionism state. If a union exists in a workplace, workers must join as a condition of employment or pay a hefty fee to the union for the alleged benefits it provides.

According to the ad, Proposal 2 also "doesn't put a single worker into a union who isn't already in one." True, they already were forced in.

Nor does it "require anyone to pay dues." But they are forced to pay fees if they don't want to pay the dues.

Then the kicker: Proposal 2 "simply prevents those who want to eliminate people's rights from being able to do it. Collective bargaining…is an American right."

Only it's not.

Collective bargaining is not a right; it's a privilege. And it's already protected by federal law.

“[F]reedom of association is a right shared by all Americans and protected by the First Amendment," wrote Conn Carroll at The Foundry, a blog of The Heritage Foundation. "In contrast, collective bargaining is a special power occasionally granted to some unions."

And, as Franklin Roosevelt astutely said, government employees should not be unionized.

“All government employees should realize that the process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service. It has its distinct and insurmountable limitations when applied to public personnel management. …Particularly, I want to emphasize my conviction that militant tactics have no place in the functions of any organization of government employees.”

Roosevelt predicted the problems of government unions 75 years ago. Taxpayers are paying the price today.


See also:

Michigan Capitol Confidential Coverage of Proposal 2: The 'Protect Our Jobs' Amendment

Michigan Capitol Confidential is the news source produced by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Michigan Capitol Confidential reports with a free-market news perspective.